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Employment Blog

New Decision - Same Result - Same Worry

Authored by Dean R. Dietrich
Posted on August 12, 2014
Filed under Employment

Another decision from the National Labor Relations Board has created the same worry for employers. An NLRB judge recently ruled that several portions of a company employee handbook restricted the rights of workers to organize and discuss their conditions of employment and found there was a violation of the Section 7 rights of the employees. In a decision involving a hotel operator, Hostmark Hospitality Group, the administrative law judge found that the company violated the National Labor Relations Act by maintaining an overly restrictive employee handbook.

The judge felt several policies in the employee handbook were improper or illegal including a policy that prevented employees from accessing the hotel facilities when not on duty. The judge also found that a policy which directed employees not to speak with the media was a violation of the law as well as a confidentiality policy which allegedly gave employees the impression they were prohibited from discussing their wages or conditions of employment. The judge ordered the company to rescind the handbook policies that he determined were in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

This is again another decision by the NLRB that scrutinizes the policies of a company and holds that a policy which seems to interfere with the freedom of speech of an employee to talk about wages and working conditions was a violation of the law even if the company policy was simply a declaration of the need for confidentiality of company records and information. This decision again shows the lengths the NLRB will go to find that a company policy violates the union organizing rights of employees and is therefore in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. Employers should give careful review to their employee handbooks to avoid this type of scrutiny and the potential for an unfavorable ruling by this pro-employee Board.